"I’ve stopped running with my training partner, I’m going solo now"

The last time we caught up with Sophie, Ashley and Kieron, the London Marathon was still set to go ahead. In the space of three weeks, the world has changed dramatically. Not only has their race around the capital been postponed until October, they, like everyone, are now coming to terms with the new social-distancing rules. In our latest chat, we discuss how their personal circumstances have been affected and how they’ve adapted their training regimes.

How are you feeling since the Marathon was postponed? 

Sophie: I laughed when I heard because with the new date it means I’ll have to run three marathons in 14 days! It is what it is. Everything has been cancelled, so you’ve just got to get on with it. I’ve not heard any word on the Berlin and Chicago marathons yet, but with the way it is in America, it’s not looking good. Thankfully, I’ve not booked my flights for that yet. Berlin though, everything is booked for that. Hopefully, I can get a refund.

Kieron: The race was still on the last time we chatted. What can I say? I was disappointed when the news came through because the coronavirus stuff wasn’t that big back then. But it’s really spread quickly in the last couple of weeks so now I’m more relieved. Personally, I don’t think the race will even take place in October, I think we’ll be waiting until next April now. I’m prepared for that.

Ashley: I’ve come to terms with it now. In the back of my head, I always knew it was going to be postponed but on that fateful Friday when they actually announced it, the reality sort of hit home. I’ve come to terms with it now and almost see it as a bit of a blessing. Knowing that I’ve got a guaranteed entry whenever it goes ahead is nice and I’ve now got six months of training I can do before it. You’ve got to look at the positives, obviously, I’m also gutted because I’m in decent shape at the minute


Has your training regime changed? 

Sophie: Yeah. I’ve got a dog so it’s quite hard with one form of exercise allowed a day to walk him and also go for a run. He doesn’t mind joining me for a run but he’s ready to turn around after three to four miles. Alternatively, I walk him first and then push him through the door to my mum and then go out and do my run. I’ve also done it where I’ve been for a run and had my mum ready to hand him to me at the door so I can then walk him straight after. It’s best to stick by the rules. I was reading that when you’re out running it’s best to stay three minutes from other people rather than two because you’re breathing heavier than usual.

Kieron: A lot has changed at home, obviously with my partner’s illness we have to be very careful. It’s been really difficult to fit training in. I’ve stopped running with my training partner, I’m going solo now. And I’m only doing 5 and 10K. With the restrictions on daily exercise, I don’t really want to be out there doing half marathons, I feel that’s not appropriate. I’m treating my daily exercise as just that, I’m capping it at 10K. I’m running a bit more. Where I used to do three runs a week, a 5K, a 10K and a big one, now I’m going out three or four times. The last thing I want is to get injured because that will just add to the stress. It’s all about being sensible.

Ashley: I was supposed to do a 10K race at Mallory Park last week with the idea that I peak there for a 10K personal best. Obviously, that was cancelled. But I think my training shows I was in a good place. Maintaining that level is the aim now. There’s no way I can continue doing the same intensity training all the way through until October. It’s just not possible. I’ll look to maintain it and then build again nearer the race. All the training hasn’t been lost, it’s not been wasted, it’s still there, it’s still in the bank, I’ve still done it. I’ve just got to try and maintain that level. I’ve been doing a bit on the bike indoors with my turbo trainer connected to an app called Zwift. Also, I’m lucky enough to have a treadmill at home. So I’m keeping active on three fronts with the third being outdoors. I’m just trying to maintain the fitness.


What are you doing to stay positive? 

Sophie: I live with my mum and dad, so I’ve got company, but we’re having to be really careful.  My dad is a bit at risk, he’s had a brain injury, stroke and is epileptic. And my mum is a key worker; she’s a carer. So she’s sort of keeping her distance. In the mornings I’ll walk the dog or go for a run and in the evenings I’ll play with the dog in the garden. I ran 5K in my garden the other night, it was something like 486 lengths! I don’t think I’ll do it again anytime soon. It took me as long to do 5K as I’d usually do 10K.

Kieron: We’re trying. My partner’s rare disease affects her lungs so we’re taking precautions. She’s self-isolating but she’s quite fortunate that she can run her business from home. One son is self-isolating with her and the other has moved back to his mum’s for a bit. As a lorry driver, I’m classed as a key worker, so I’m still working. I’m trying to keep my distance. Everyone is upbeat, as much as we can be but I think the situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

Ashley: Me and my partner are fine, we’re just trying to avoid silly situations while both still working. The kids are self-isolating with their mum so it’s been quite difficult not being able to see them. I’ve absolutely battered FaceTime, we’re on that every day. Work keeps you occupied eight hours of the day…it’s bearable. I don’t know what I’ll say in three weeks time! There’s only so much YouTube you can watch. The weather has helped a bit, if it was cold and miserable outside, you wouldn’t want to go out for that one bit of outdoor exercise. I’m quite a positive person, there’s no point beating myself up about it,  the situation is what it is. You’ve got to make the most of it. I’ve got some jobs done around the house and I’m enjoying spending time with my girlfriend.